Naming Beats in Acting

Naming beats in acting

You’ve probably heard about using “beats” in acting and if not, definitely check out this post first.  I want to share a way you can take beats a step further and help you create a powerful map for your rehearsal process.

Once you have your beats figured out (which of course are always subject to change while in process), I love using this tool to help you know exactly what each moment is about.

I found some notes in a play I worked on in Larry Moss’ class years ago and took a picture to show you.  (click on it to view a higher quality image)

skylight image copy

The line across the page marks the new beat.  At the top of the new beat on the right hand side you’ll see “wake up, you live in a bubble” circled.  That’s what I named that beat because I decided it was the main idea of that section for my character and because that particular phrase I came up with activated something in me.  Sometimes I would highlight the beat’s name in a special color or name each beat on a small Post-It note.  Whatever works for you is fine, but it should be easy for you to grab quickly when you are in the middle of rehearsal.

Knowing what each beat is about is so helpful for creating your character’s transitions.  Plus, it helps you connect with your objectives and intentions.  This tool is especially helpful for film and tv when you are shooting out of order.  I always advise actors preparing for large roles to name acts, scenes and beats so when you are in your trailer getting for whatever is next, you can quickly go to your map and see where you need to be emotionally and prep for that.

Isn’t this fun?  Try it out and let me know what you think!


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